Cheryl Costa saw her first UFO at the age of 12, an event she says has stayed with her forever. 

“It was a clear blue sky,” Costa said. “And then it just went Phew! Gone. That changed me.”

Costa’s interest grew deeper six years ago when she saw an article mentioning a decline in UFO sightings. Something about it just didn’t sound right to her. 

“And I’m just sitting there thinking about how 1) That article is misinformation and 2) What article didn’t the UFOs get,” Costa said. 

That moment began a lifetime of searching for what she calls the “truth”. Cheryl and her partner Linda created the first comprehensive statistical summary of UFO encounters. 

Their book “UFO Sightings Desk Reference” compiles more than 121,000 sightings from across the United States. There are no anecdotes or pictures in the text, just data from reports, most of which (roughly 93%) Cheryl believes is explainable. 

“It’s like a big haystack,” Costa said. “And somewhere in there instead of yellow hay there’s blue hay. A handful of it. Just what ones are blue we don’t know.” 

Costa now speaks across the country on her research, including most recently at the UFO Congress in Scottsdale, AZ. This month, she was presented with the Congress’ “Researcher of the Year” award. 

It’s a humbling accolade, Costa, said, but her real motivation is much more personal. 

“Everyone says to me, ‘I want to know the truth about this before I die’. And I’m of the same notion. If anything I do helps bring truth about, that’s what I’m about. I want to get to the truth.”